My Suburban Life

Some Downers Grove neighbors upset at likely tower move

Some neighbors in Downers Grove are voicing opposition to a plan to replace and relocate a telecommunication tower on land owned by the village.

A 183-foot telecommunications tower stands on a site west of the village’s fleet maintenance facility and north of the intersection of Curtiss Avenue and Mackie Place. The more than 40-year-old lattice-style tower serves both community and commercial entities.

Officials plan to remove the existing tower and build a new one about 270 feet to the east. The new tower would have updated technology and remain on village land. Its highest antenna would reach up to 199 feet.

“This tower will provide emergency dispatch services to Downers Grove and nearby communities without a redesign of the regional dispatch communication networks,” Downers Grove Director of Community Development Stan Popovich said. “And it will continue to provide our residents and businesses in the neighborhood with wireless communication services.”

At the May 3 Village Council meeting, several residents spoke out against the proposal.

The public commenters, who mostly live along Maple Avenue southeast of the maintenance facility, shared safety concerns about the new tower and its 200-foot fall zone. They also expressed fears about the tower affecting their property values.

“I can’t sell my home for what I bought it for,” said resident Sarah DiPasquale, who shared renderings of how the new tower likely would dominate her backyard view. “It’s moving directly in our line of sight.”

The new tower is part of a push for Downers Grove to redevelop its civic center campus. Architectural plans have been developed for a new building to consolidate both the village hall and police station. Downers Grove Elementary District 58 plans to lease space in the civic center for administrative purposes.

Plans also are afoot to turn the civic center property into a special taxing district in which property taxes paid to local governments are frozen for up to 23 years. Once the Washington and Curtiss tax increment financing district is established, any extra property tax money collected within its boundaries goes into a special fund to help pay for certain improvements.

Once the new building is completed, the existing village hall and police station along Burlington Avenue will be demolished. Village leaders are hoping that a private developer might purchase part of the current village hall site for a potential apartment building, which could help generate revenue to pay for the new civic center.